How physical therapy helps herniated disc; all you need to know

You feel pain in your back that is bothering you for a bit long time. What is it? It might be fatigue due to a busy schedule or working too much these days. Maybe, but in today’s world, you would better not neglect any pain or health condition. It might be something treatable if you take action on time. Your back pain could be a herniated disc. Our lifestyle says it’s inevitable. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, or sitting still behind desks are the major reasons behind it. 

The article explains what is a herniated disc, the symptoms, its causes, tips to avoid it, and how physical therapy helps you reduce or manage the pain. 


What is a Herniated Disk?

You might often feel lower back pain that is bothering you for a while. How about pain in the shoulder, arm, buttock, or leg? The cause could be a herniated disc. 

Vertebrae make your spine. Small cushions form between each one of them that get called discs. The discs are to protect your spine from the daily activities you and I do; such as walking, lifting things, working out, etc.

Each disc contains two parts; a soft, gel-like inner ring and a touch outer ring. In case the outer rings become weak or get injured, the inner ring might stick out. The situation gets called a herniated disc. 

A herniated disc is a common problem in your spine. Yet, it can affect the lower part of the spine most often. 

Your back pain could have many causes. However, it is mostly due to a herniated disc.


How common is the herniated disc?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that the herniated disc is most common in 30-50 people. Also, men tend to suffer from it more than women. Out of every two men, one woman suffers from a herniated disc. Eight of every ten people will experience a type of lower back pain in a lifetime.

 You might try to rely only on medicine to treat herniated discs. However, health experts lack enough evidence that medicine can treat it. The utilized medicine could cause other health issues. You try to fix the problems with an illness cause. 

 You also might hear other names for the herniated disc, such as:

  • Bulging disc 
  • Ruptured disc

Of all the available treatments, physical therapy is the most common one. 


What is the cause of herniated disc?

There could be different causes for a herniated disc. Age is the number one. As you and I get up in years, the ligaments that hold the discs become weak. The discs begin losing some of the protective water content. 

Also, there are other conditions that make things worse. Obesity is one of them. Excessive weight puts too much stress on your discs. 

Remember that your job could also increase the risk. If you have to bend, push, pull, or lift a lot, you are more prone to a herniated disc. 

You don’t work out or do exercise; weak muscles are inevitable. So is the herniated disc.  Experts say that a sedentary lifestyle is also a major trigger.

Tobacco is another risk factor. The oxygen supply to the disk decreases and causes it to break down more quickly. 

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons indicates that genetics could lead to herniated disc too. It could run in families affecting a few members. 

The people who use their back to lift things are more likely to suffer from a herniated disc. They bend down to lift things rather than sitting down and lifting with the help of their legs. The weight of things doesn’t matter. For instance, you want to lift your pen. You would better get help from your legs and sit completely to lift it. 


Herniated Disk; the signs and symptoms

Herniated sic can show symptoms in any part of your back, but the lower part is more common. You could also feel symptoms in the neck or shoulder. 

Pain in the affected parts of the body is a common symptom. You could feel it in your:

  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Neck
  • Low back or back 

Yet, the herniated disc often affects one part of the body. Tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation in the following parts of body are also common:

  • Feet or legs
  • Hands
  • Hips
  • Arms
  • Shoulders

You are not able to rotate your back and neck or just can not bend down. It’s another symptom. 

If moving, sitting, reaching, sneezing, or coughing, your pain gets worse. Patients could have pain or difficulty getting up from a chair. The pain could prevent you from sitting or standing still in a position. 

The pain could get worse at night when moving in the bed. 

Weakness in your arms and legs. The muscle could stumble and can not lift or hold objects.  


How could you prevent herniated discs?

The following tips can help you prevent herniated disc:


It could help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles. You could decrease pressure on your back to support the spine. 


Keep good posture 

You maintain good posture; you could decrease the burden or pressure from your spine. You have to sit for long hours, keep your back straight and aligned. Suppose you have to lift heavy objects or any object, get help from legs, not backs. Sit completely, then lift the object by bending down. 


Control your weight 

Obesity puts too much pressure on your back. The neurosurgeon Jason M. Highsmith, MD says that “losing weight makes it less likely that you need a surgery for herniated disc”. It’s good for your overall health as well. 

 Studies indicate the association between obesity and spinal disease.


Avoid smoking 

As mentioned, smoking makes your spine and back weak. You would better quit permanently or decrease tobacco usage. 


What are the common treatments for a herniated disk?

There are different treatments available for the herniated disc. It’s up to your conditions, the pain, and the expert’s opinion to choose one. However, the following ones are common:

  • Relieve inflammation
  • Careful movements
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy 
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Surgery

From the mentioned treatments, physical therapy is more common and effective. Surgery is often the last option.


How can Physical Therapy help the herniated disc?

Physical therapy could help patients recover from pains and disorders. It’s safe, effective, and non-invasive. It’s also effective for age-related ailments. 

A physical therapist helps you to assess the situation and provide the required exercise you need. You could also receive treatment at your place of residence through in-home therapists

Physical therapy provides treatments and exercises that help you return to your normal lifestyle. The required time varies and depends on the patient and the damage. 

If the situation is difficult for the patient, physical therapy might recommend medications or surgery. However, they won’t do it unless it’s necessary. 

Physical therapy can help you with the herniated disc in the following ways:


Decrease pain and the symptoms

The physical therapist helps you to revise movements and activities that cause pain or injury. So you will get better by doing the right thing and avoiding the source of the pain. The therapist could use different technologies and treatments to decrease your pain and symptoms as well.  


Correct your posture 

In case poor posture is the cause of your herniated disc, the therapist trains you on the appropriate posture. You can reduce the pressure on the hurt area and begin treatment. 


Develop mobility and motion 

Depending on the injured part, the therapist will pick particular treatments and activities. You can go back to the normal movements stopped by the injured part. 

The strategies are up to your conditions. The therapist might use passive motions so you can move your spine. Then begin the active stretches and exercise so you can do it on your own. 


Develop flexibility 

If your muscles are tight, the therapist helps you to stretch them. You begin to develop flexibility, so the movements get easier with less pain. 


Increase your strength

If your muscles are weak or injured, physical therapy will help you to regain strength steadily. The programs will teach you appropriate exercises to do step by step. Core strengthening is common to give strength back to your:

  • Pelvis
  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Back

The Core strengthening will help neck and back herniations. 


Develop Stamina and endurance 

The muscles could not have the same stamina or endurance after an injury. This is while you need them to improve and get better. Physical therapy can help you regain endurance and also improve muscles. 


Go back to normal activities

Particular injuries or health conditions could prevent the patient from returning to normal daily life. They might have trouble with a few movements, such as walking. Physical therapy can help you to practice the moves or regain the strength to do them slowly. 

In a herniated disc, the therapy teaches you “body mechanics.” They are the appropriate ways to do tasks or lift heavy objects. They prevent further injuries as well. 


Have a home plan therapy program 

Physical therapy can teach you a plan to exercise at home. The type of exercise is up to your condition. It could be:

  • Pain-reducing
  • Strengthening
  • or stretching

The exercise will serve your particular needs and speed up the recovery process. 


The other types of treatments

Physical therapy could use the following treatments to deal with the pain and injury as well:

  • Massage 
  • Hot and Cold Therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Traction 


Physical therapy near me in Las Vegas 

A herniated disc is a common disorder due to aging or an inappropriate lifestyle. Obesity, poor posture, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle could also cause it and make the situation worse. 

The article explained the herniated disc, its causes, symptoms, and how physical therapy can help you reduce or manage it. It well explained the benefits of physical therapy so you could avoid surgery.

If you are looking for physical therapy in Las Vegas, Health & Care Professional Network is here to help. We have been providing in-home skilled nursing services to Las Vegas residents for 15+ years. Physical therapy is one of them.

 We can provide it at your place of residence to the elderly, the disabled, or patients recovering from an injury or disease. 

Give us a call at (702) 871-9917 to receive further information or go through the website’s menu. 

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